MoviePass has partnered with AMC Theaters to offer (almost) all you can eat movies for a fee. The service, which is more than three years old now, is a bit like Netflix’s subscription-based model, except consumers use the service to watch movies in theaters. Originally big theater chains seemed to oppose the idea, but as AMC says, “It frankly wouldn’t be smart to ignore the success of subscription in other areas of media.”
The hope is to lure consumers back to the theater, particularly young folks. Subscription models have worked well for services like Netflix and Hulu, though the difference is that these two services offer almost endless content. With MoviePass, subscribers are limited to one movie per day, so you won’t be able to movie hop one any given weekend. Your subscription can only be used for you, too, which means your movie buddy (girlfriend/boyfriend) will have to get a MoviePass of their own.
The partnership will be available as a trial beginning in January, with availability in Boston and Denver. Monthly subscription packages will start at $35-$45 (the higher price offers different format options), which amounts to about two and a half movies each month if you bought individual tickets. Other cities will be added later depending on if people are actually willing to subscribe to the service.
“The data will determine how fast we go,” said Christina Sternberg, senior vice president for corporate strategy at AMC. “sometimes you first expand the test, sometimes you accelerate the deployment.”
According to Nielsen data, ticket sales have declined over the past few years, especially among younger audiences who typically buy soda, popcorn and other goodies when they do attend a movie—big sales theaters rely on. By partnering with MoviePass, AMC believes the subscription aspect will entice audiences to see more movies. MoviePass chief executive and co-founder, Stacy Spikes, said about 75-percent of subscribers are 18 to 34. However, Spikes didn’t reveal how many people are subscribed to the service.
“The mandate at AMC is to break some eggs and make some omelets,” Spikes said.